Kal Penn

born April 23, 1977

Kalpen Suresh Modi(born April 23, 1977), best known by his stage nameKal Penn, is an American film and television actor, producer, and civil servant.As an actor, he is known for his roles portraying the character Dr. Lawrence Kutner on the television programHouseand the character Kumar Patel in theHarold and Kumarcomedy films. He is also recognized for his performance in the critically acclaimed filmThe Namesake. Penn has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania as a visiting lecturer in the Cinema Studies Program.On April 8, 2009, it was announced that Penn would join the Obama administration as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement .This necessitated that his character Lawrence Kutner be written out of the TV seriesHouse.Penn resigned his post as Barack Obama's associate director of public engagement on June 1, 2010, for a brief return to his acting career.He filmed the third installment of the Harold and Kumar series,A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, then returned to the White House Office of Public Engagement as an Associate Director.In July 2011, he again left the White House, this time for a role inHow I Met Your Mother,and then went back to his political duties.

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 Kal Penn's Early life and education

Penn was born to a Hindu Indian family as Kalpen Suresh Modi in Montclair, New Jersey , the son of Asmita, a fragrance evaluator for a perfume company, and Suresh Modi, an engineer.Both of his parents are Gujarati immigrants from India .He has stated that stories of his grandparents marching with Mahatma Gandhi for Indian independence were a significant influence on his interest in politics.

He attended Marlboro Middle School in Marlboro Township, New Jersey and played baritone saxophone in the jazz band there. Penn attended The Fine and Performing Arts Academy (a magnet program ) at Howell High School for freshman, sophomore, and junior years; he transferred to Freehold Township High School for senior year; both schools are part of the Freehold Regional High School District . He was active in the schools' theater productions and competed on the Freehold Township forensics team. He attended UCLA , where he double majored in film and sociology .

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 Kal Penn's Acting career

Penn's feature film debut came in 1998 inExpress: Aisle to Glory. He has since appeared inAmerican Desi,National Lampoon's Van Wilder,Malibu's Most Wanted,A Lot Like Love,Dude, Where's the Party?,Love Don't Cost a Thing,Superman Returns,National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj,Epic Movie,The Namesake, theHarold and Kumarseries, and an uncredited appearance inDeck the Halls. Penn was featured in The Lonely Island 's rejected comedy pilot ,Awesometown.

Penn says that he derived his acting name, Kal Penn, as a lark: "Almost as a joke to prove friends wrong, and half as an attempt to see if what I was told would work (that anglicized names appeal more to a white-dominated industry), I put 'Kal Penn' on my resume and photos." His audition callbacks rose by 50 percent. He has stated that he prefers his birth name and uses "Kal Penn" only for professional purposes.

In January 2007, Penn appeared in the first four episodes of the sixth season of24as Ahmed Amar , a teenage terrorist . Penn says he nearly turned down the role due to personal ethics, stating, "I have a huge political problem with the role. It was essentially accepting a form of racial profiling . I think it’s repulsive. But it was the first time I had a chance to blow stuff up and take a family hostage. As an actor, why shouldn’t I have that opportunity? Because I'm brown and I should be scared about the connection between media images and people's thought processes?"

Also in January 2007, he appeared in the spoof comedyEpic Movieas well as the television showLaw & Order: Special Victims Unit. In May 2007, Penn received the Asian Excellence Award for Outstanding Actor for his performance inThe Namesake.

In fall 2007, Penn joined the cast of the Fox medical dramaHouseas a fellowship applicant.E!reported that Penn had signed on as a regular on the show along with Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson and this was confirmed in the plot of the episode " Games ". Penn continued with the series through to the episode " Simple Explanation ", which aired April 6, 2009. He made an additional appearance as Lawrence Kutner on the fifth season finale, " Both Sides Now ", that aired on May 11, 2009. However, due to his new job at the White House, Penn could not be present for the filming of this episode. The clip of him saying "Too bad it isn't true" was taken from a previous filming. Penn returned to the show for the series finale.

Beside his role on the T.V. seriesHouse, he is best known from his role inHarold & Kumar, Kumar Patel, a cannabis smoker who goes with Harold Lee ( John Cho ) to White Castle for a hamburger. Unlike his character, he neither smokes marijuana , claiming it is not for him,[dead link]nor eats meat.

On July 13, 2011, it was announced on Facebook that Penn would be joining the cast ofHow I Met Your Motherfor the seventh season of the show.

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 Kal Penn's Political interests

A man giving a speech. He wears a white blouse with a dark label pin. In front of him, there are two microphones.
Kal Penn speaking at a rally for President Barack Obama at the University of Maryland 's Nyumburu Cultural Center.

Penn was an advocate for Barack Obama 's presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008 and a member of Obama's National Arts Policy Committee.He appears in the Barack Obama -supporting video " Sí Se Puede Cambiar " by Andres Useche and appeared with comedian George Lopez on January 18, 2009, at " We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial ".

In early 2009, Penn was offered the position of Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration , which he accepted. This necessitated his character Lawrence Kutner being written out of the TV seriesHouse.In his new role with the Obama administration, Modi served as a liaison with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.He had gone back to using his birth name, Kalpen Modi.

Having made a commitment before his employment at the White House, Penn amicably left his post as Barack Obama's associate director of public engagement on June 1, 2010 to return to his acting career.He returned to office on November 15, 2010, following completion ofA Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.

In February 2012, it was announced that Penn would be a co-chair for the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama

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 Kal Penn's Other activities

In 2008, Penn served as a visiting lecturer in Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania .His course was titled "Images of Asian Americans in the Media."

Penn is currently working on a graduate certificate in international security from Stanford University .

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 Kal Penn's Filmography


1998 Express: Aisle to Glory Jackie Newton
1999 Freshman Ajay
2001 American Desi Ajay Pandya
2002 Hector Kendal Cunningham
National Lampoon's Van Wilder Taj Badalandabad
Badger Sanjay
2003 Cosmopolitan Vandana's fiancé
Love Don't Cost a Thing Kenneth Warman
Malibu's Most Wanted Hadji
Dude, Where's the Party? Mo (Mohan Bakshi)
2004 Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Kumar Patel
Ball & Chain Bobby
2005 Dancing in Twilight Sam
Son of the Mask Jorge
A Lot Like Love Jeeter
Sueño Raj
2006 Man About Town Alan Fineberg Direct-to-video
Bachelor Party Vegas Z-Bob
The Namesake Gogol
Superman Returns Stanford
Deck The Halls Amit Sayid
National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj Taj Badalandabad
2007 The Namesake Gogol/Nikhil Ganguli
Epic Movie Edward
2008 Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay Kumar Patel
Under New Management Wheeler
2011 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Kumar Patel
2012 Bhopal: Prayer for Rain TBA

Television roles

1999 Brookfield Kumar Zimmerman
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Hunt Episode "Beer Bad"
2000 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Prajeeb
Spin City Buddy
2001 Angel Fez Boy
ER Narajan
NYPD Blue Solomon Al-Ramai
The Agency Malek
2003 All About the Andersons Dinesh
Tru Calling Steven Episode "Haunted"
2004 Homeland Security Harrison
2006 The Danny Comden Project Max
2007 Law and Order: Special Victims Unit Henry Chanoor
24 Ahmed Amar Season 6: 4 Episodes
2007–2009, 2012 House, M.D. Dr.Lawrence Kutner Main cast Seasons 4–5: 37 Episodes
2011–2012 How I Met Your Mother Kevin RecurringSeason 7: 9 Episodes

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 Kal Penn's References

  1. Ausiello, Michael. "'House' exclusive: The shocking story behind last night's big death", Entertainment Weekly, 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  2. It'll be the White House for Kal Penn now. Rediff.com, 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  3. "Kalpen Modi, aka Kal Penn, aka Kumar, leaves the White House, returns to showbiz". WashingtonPost.com (The Washington Post). June 22, 2010. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2010/06/rs-_kal_penn.html. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  4. "The Note". 2010-11-15. http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2010/11/kal-penn-kalpen-modi-white-house-harold-and-kumar.html. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  5. "Kal Penn to leave White House again". http://www.politico.com/blogs/click/0711/Kal_Penn_to_leave_White_House_again.html. 
  6. Chivukula, Som (2002-04-12). "Article: Kal Penn's do's and don'ts". India Abroad. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-79283670.html. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  7. By Yuan-Kwan Chan (2007-10-16). "Happy Birthday, Asian American Arts Alliance". Meniscuszine.com. http://www.meniscuszine.com/issue24/asianam-arts-alliance-20081001. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  8. Chhabra, Aseem. Kal Penn: Hollywood's Desi No1!. Rediff.com, 2005-04-22. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  9. "Kal Penn's The Rachel Maddow Show appearance (airdate April 10, 2009)". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/30159949#30159949. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  10. Actor Kal Penn to Teach at the University of Pennsylvania. University of Pennsylvania Office of University Communications, 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  11. Yuan, Jada. "The White-Castle Ceiling". New York, 2007-03-04. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  12. "Asian Excellence Awards – Winners (archive)". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2008-02-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20080213091619/http://www.azntv.com/axawards/night_of_excellence/winners.aspx. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  13. "'House' gets a new group of trainees". CNN. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071011190205/http://cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/07/18/television.house.reut/index.html. Retrieved July 18, 2007. 
  14. Hibberd, James (March 22, 2012). "'House' finale scoop: Kal Penn in talks to return". Entertainment Weekly. http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/03/22/house-finale-kal-penn/. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  15. "Kal Penn Does Not Smoke Marijuana". The Insider. http://www.theinsider.com/news/839717_KAL_PENN_DOES_NOT_SMOKE_MARIJUANA. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  16. "THIS JUST IN: Kal Penn joining How I Met Your Mother". How I Met Your Mother. http://www.facebook.com/HowIMetYourMotherCBS/posts/252662248082978. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  17. Penn, Kal. "Open Letter to Two Undeclared College Superdelegates". The Huffington Post, 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  18. Joshi, Monika. "Actor Kal Penn roots for Obama". Rediff.com, 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  19. "It'll be the White House for Kal Penn now". Rediff.com, 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  20. "Kal Penn Leaves House for the White House". Tvguide.com. 2009-04-07. http://www.tvguide.com/News/Kal-Penn-House-1004799.aspx. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  21. "New role in Obama White House"[dead link]
  22. Choudhury, Uttara. "You can call me Kalpen Modi". DNA (Daily News & Analysis), 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
  23. "Kalpen Modi Returns To White House Job After Leaving To Film 'Harold & Kumar' Sequel". Blogs.abcnews.com. 2010-11-15. http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2010/11/kal-penn-kalpen-modi-white-house-harold-and-kumar.html. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  24. http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/02/obama-campaign-announces-cochairs-115161.html
  25. Schwedel, Heather. "Kal Penn to teach at Penn". The Daily Pennsylvanian, 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  26. "Asian American Studies Program at University of Pennsylvania". Asam.sas.upenn.edu. http://asam.sas.upenn.edu. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 

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